Archived Story

Autumn is a time when bugs invade home

Published 9:50am Friday, October 11, 2013

Column: Things I Tell My Wife, by Matthew Knutson

“We’re not moving just because you saw one bug,” I said, praying my wife wouldn’t see another one.

It’s not that I’m afraid of them. It’s how close to serious my wife, Sera, seemed about wanting to move after seeing the creature. This particular bug was the kind that had a thousand legs and moved faster than anyone could imagine.

Matthew Knutson
Matthew Knutson

It was either a silverfish or a centipede. I killed it too quickly to properly classify the intruder. The proper name of the bug didn’t matter to my wife; the fact that it was on her bathroom towel did.

After apologizing through the window screen to our kind neighbor who had been looking for the screaming woman, Sera began to calm down enough to reiterate the need for us to move.

Unfortunately for her, I don’t think moving would solve any of our bug problems. Seeing one centipede every few months is certainly far from an infestation. That being said, the season of creepy-crawlers is upon us. It’s likely that more bugs will be seeking the shelter of a warm home, and for the sake of my marriage, I’d rather keep them out.

There are a plethora of resources online that can help with that process. What I’m going to help you with is responding to the initial terror that one of these monsters brings.

1. Respond immediately. It didn’t matter to my wife that a classic episode of “Friends” was on television when she discovered the bug. It demands an immediate response, even if you know your wife is just one room over brushing her teeth.

2. Kill it swiftly. The longer it lives, the more likely you’ll have to move to another home. Just thinking of packing makes me inspired to take some sort of course on extermination.

3. Keep a weapon nearby at all times. My biggest mistake was not having something prepared to strike the predator. I ended up using a black dress sock because my life flashed before my eyes when I considered using one of my wife’s precious shoes. Of course, after killing the bug I was gently scolded about not using a shoe, but the deed was done.

4. Clear the scene. Removing the deceased creature from the presence of my wife proved effective, but putting the sock-weapon in the dirty clothes wasn’t going to cut it. In fact, the towel she discovered the bug on needed to be removed from the bathroom. Both ended up in the laundry room that night, but only the towel has made it through the laundry cycle. Perhaps my black sock was a casualty that my wife secretly threw away.

5. Attempt to calm the victim. I say attempt because it may be futile to actually calm someone who has seen a something with more legs than anything else. It took spraying the vents with hairspray for Sera to finally calm down. Neither of us know why she did it, but we have yet to see another creature in the bathroom, so perhaps it was a worthwhile moment of insanity.

Being the “hero” husband wasn’t a role I imagined I’d be called to so quickly into our marriage, but my wife’s rare damsel-in-distress episode reminded me not of the traditional gender roles we displayed, but rather of how I’ll expect her to assume the hero role if I ever find a snake in the house. And yes, without a doubt we will be moving if that ever occurs.

Days after the bathroom incident, I came home to multiple yellow Post-it notes to the left of our entryway closet. They read, “Mission tonight: Kill. The. Ladybugs!” As we step further into fall, I can only imagine more of these notes appearing as ladybugs, boxelder bugs and more insects attempt to join our family. I’ll be ready to welcome them with the flyswatter. Sera will be ready to welcome them with a scream.


Matthew Knutson is a marketing specialist at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. Find him online at